There is nothing like winning a state championship.
Knowing that all your hard work and effort has resulted in the ultimate prize produces a sense of exhilaration that you will never forget.
Skowhegan High School’s Maine Sports Hall of Fame field hockey coach Paula Doughty has certainly enjoyed her 17 state Class A championships, including 14 over the last 16 seasons.
But last year’s 2-1 victory over Massabesic of Waterboro left a sour taste in her mouth and she hopes to avoid a repeat on Saturday when her 16-1 Indians face upstart Westbrook (14-4) in the Class A state title game at Falmouth beginning at noon.
The 2 p.m. game will be the B final between North titlist Maine Central Institute of Pittsfield (13-3-1), which captured the Class C North championship the previous two years, and defending three-time state kingpin York (14-2-1).
The day’s last game will be the C final between 15-1-1 Winthrop and 17-0 Saint Dominic Academy of Auburn. Game time is 4.
“I was embarrassed at the performance we put on in the state game last year,” said Doughty. “We didn’t do anything we had done all season. It was as if it wasn’t a big deal.
“So we had a big talk about it the other day. It is a freakin’ big deal,” stressed Doughty. “We’re getting re-focused. We didn’t get re-focused last year after beating (archrival) Messalonskee (in the regional final).”
She said some of her players watched videotape of Massabesic before the state game a year ago and Massabesic didn’t look very tough.
“We aren’t doing that this year. We’re just going to try to play our game,” said Doughty.
She insisted that they won’t take Westbrook lightly because the Blue Blazes were a No. 6 seed and lost four games.
“Westbrook had to beat a lot of great teams to get here,” said Doughty. “You don’t get to the state game if you aren’t any good. When you get to the state game, it’s a whole new ballgame.”
Maliea Kelso, Alexis Michonski and Julie Steeves have been two of the offensive catalysts for Skowhegan and Haley Carter has been the leader in the back. She also scored in the 3-1 win over Messalonskee in the regional final, as did Kelso and Steeves. Leah Savage was outstanding in goal, making eight saves, and Doughty noted that freshmen Hannah McKenney and Kayla Furbush had impressive performances.
Westbrook, making its first appearance in a state title game since 1980, shut out Biddeford 2-0 in the regional final, holding the Tigers without a shot on goal until the final 10 minutes. Maddison LeBeau and Avery Tucker scored the goals and Kim Goddard earned the Blazes’ third shutout in four playoff games.
In the B final, the Huskies from MCI, state C champs two years ago, will try to dethrone a York team that outscored its three Class B South playoff opponents 8-2.
Addi Williams scored twice in the 3-0 win over Gardiner in the regional final to give her 33 for the season and a school-record 90 for her career. Eva Bickford, who anchors the defense, scored the other goal. Madysen Hartley has been another key offensive player with April McAlpine and Allison Hughes playing important roles in the midfield and Elspeth Taylor supplying solid goalkeeping.
York, which has had to adjust to life without 2016 Miss Maine Field Hockey winner Lily Posternak, had its 58-game winning streak snapped by Greely of Cumberland Center 2-0 on Sept. 14 but still earned the top seed and its fifth straight state title game berth.
Seniors Sydney Bouchard (2) and Barbara Conradt scored in the 3-1 regional final win over Poland.
In the C final, Winthrop hasn’t won a state title since 1989 but did reach the state finals in 2011 and 2012 where they lost to North Yarmouth Academy and Lisbon, respectively. St. Dom’s has never won a state title and last played in a final in 2006, losing to Central of Corinth 2-1.
Highly-skilled Kinli DiBiase and Moriah Hajduk are constant threats for the Ramblers with DiBiase setting up Kate Perkins’ overtime game-winner in the 2-1 victory over Dexter in the regional final. Defender Layne Audet had the other goal.
St. Dom’s senior forward Hannah Trottier-Braun has scored three playoff goals to give her 108 career goals, including 58 this season. Junior Caroline Johnson also has scored three times in the playoffs.
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